This Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup recipe is very easy, it uses simple and hearty everyday ingredients with delicious flavor in every spoonful. Instant Pot Soup recipes are perfect all year round, but especially when it’s cold out or you’re feeling under the weather. Juicy tender chicken, vegetables, and spices make up this amazing instant pot chicken barley soup.
Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup is one of our favorite family meals. The best part is pressure cooking takes just a fraction of the time! Which means this family dinner is on the table quickly.
If you are making a batch for meal prep, freeze the soup in smaller containers so you only reheat the amount you need. This is definitely a favorite idea I do when I make this soup. It’s perfect for freezing and reheating, keeping it’s texture and taste.
Another favorite Instant Pot soup you might love is this creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup. It’s also a delicious and comforting soup when it’s cold outside.
Why You’ll Love Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup
- Instant Pot soups are great for meal planning, meal prep and are absolutely amazing for freezer meals. Like many other stew recipes, you can make an extra batch or two and freeze them for later.
- Delicious Chicken and Barley soup is a good alternative to your classic chicken noodle soup. This homemade soup is really a hearty soup recipe that the whole family will love.
- An easy comforting meal.
- Making this Chicken Barley Soup Instant Pot style takes just 40 minutes cooking time. In a slow cooker, it would take over 3 hours!
- Leftovers are just as yummy!
More Instant Pot Recipes
Kitchen Equipment You’ll Need
- Instant Pot
- Sharp Knife
- Cutting Board
- Wooden Spoon
- Small Bowl
Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup Ingredients
Get more info on these simple ingredients in the recipe card below.
ONION: Diced up medium onion is what we’re looking for. You can use a white or yellow onion.
OLIVE OIL: Use your oil preference, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, etc.
CHICKEN BREAST: I like to use boneless skinless chicken breasts for this soup recipe.
HERBS AND SPICES: Fresh minced garlic, sea salt, dried thyme, ground white pepper, dried parsley flakes are the spices and herbs I use. Note: you can use black pepper if preferred.
CARROTS: Sliced medium carrots. I use fresh carrots, but you could use frozen or canned if needed.
CHICKEN BROTH: You can also use chicken stock in its place.
QUICK PEARLED BARLEY: This brings that flavor you enjoy so much and is such an important ingredient that it made it into the soup’s name! It’s a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It also is a good source of fiber. Make sure to get the quick pearled type of barley
CORNSTARCH AND COLD WATER: These ingredients are used to create a slurry to help thicken up the soup.
What is Slurry?
Slurry is a term used for thickening up soup.
You need a thickening agent, in this case we’re using cornstarch. Add a little water to the cornstarch and mix well into your soup.
This creates a thicker, creamier soup that can’t be obtained when just using a broth. It’s optional, but I highly suggest it for this Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup.
Should Barley be Cooked Before Adding to the Soup?
Thankfully, there is no need to pre-cook the barley. The magic of the Instant Pot is the high pressure cooking will cook the barley perfectly while cooking the veggies and chicken.
You’ll end up with perfectly cooked barley and tender chicken.
Prep (10 minutes)
- Chop 1/2 a medium onion
- Slice 1 cup of fresh carrots
- Mince 1 tablespoon of garlic
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup
STEP 1: Turn on saute mode on your Instant Pot and add your oil to the insert. Once it’s hot, add the onions and saute them for 3-5 minutes, or until they’re soft.
STEP 2: Press the cancel button which turns the Instant Pot off and add your whole chicken breasts, minced garlic, salt, thyme, white pepper, and chicken broth. Use a wooden spoon to stir.
STEP 3: Place the lid on and close the sealing valve by pushing it away from you. Pressure cook on high for 7 minutes. This high pressure will cook the chicken breasts all the way through.
STEP 4: After the time has finished, perform a natural release of pressure by letting the pressure escape and not by opening the valve. After the silver pin has dropped and all the remaining pressure has released, you can open the lid carefully.
STEP 5: Using tongs, remove the chicken and transfer it to a cutting board. Cut the chicken into cubes.
STEP 6: Add chicken back to the Instant Pot with the barley, parsley, and carrots.
STEP 7: Turn saute mode back on and bring it all to a boil so the barley cooks. Place the lid back on and close the valve to lock in the heat and allow the soup to cook for 15 minutes with the lid on.
STEP 8: Add in the (optional) slurry. In a small bowl add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water. Mix together and pour into the soup. Give your Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup one more good mix and serve.
How to Store Leftover Chicken Barley Soup
This easy recipe can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-7 days.
You can also choose to freeze this chicken soup. You need to let your soup cool down completely before storing it. I recommend storing it in a freezer safe container or zip top bag laid flat in the freezer.
Thaw your soup before reheating. Remove it from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
How to Reheat
For best results, reheat your Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup in a saucepan on the stovetop. Make sure to stir it as it reheats.
You can also reheat your soup in the microwave using 30-second interval spurts so you can stir it up in between heating sessions.
Feel free to add or substitute ingredients in this Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup recipe to make it your own! Here are a few ideas:
- You can swap the chicken out for beef for a beef barley soup recipe.
- Add red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
- Want more veggies? Try chopped celery or red peppers.
- Feel free to a bay leaf or two in there too. Bay leaves add a slight pine flavor that’s very subtle.
- Omit chicken and swap the broth for cups of water to create an Instant Pot vegetable barley soup
- If you like a thinner soup, skip the optional slurry. If you enjoy a thicker soup, make sure to add the cornstarch slurry.
- Do not do a quick release, the added time for the natural release ensures the chicken is fully cooked.
- Use oven mitts when working with an Instant Pot to ensure your hands are safe from the hot steam.
You’ll love how easy this Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup is to make, especially when you need a filling meal. Using pantry staples, this quick instant pot soup is filling and warming, perfect for the cooler months. Cozy up and enjoy!
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 1/2 medium Onion, diced
- 1.5 lbs. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (about 2 breasts)
- 1 tablespoon Garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
- ½ teaspoon Ground White Pepper (or black pepper)
- 2 sprigs Dried Thyme (leaves removed from stem)
- 64 oz. Chicken Broth (or stock)
- 1 tablespoon Dried Parsley Flakes
- 1 cup Carrots, sliced
- 1 cup Quick Pearled Barley
- 2 tablespoons corn starch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water (slurry)
- Turn on saute mode on your Instant Pot and add your oil to the insert. Once it's hot, add the onions and saute them for 3-5 minutes, or until they're soft.
- Press the cancel button which turns the Instant Pot off and add your whole chicken breasts, minced garlic, salt, thyme, white pepper, and chicken broth. Use a wooden spoon to stir.
- Place the lid on and close the sealing valve. Pressure cook on high for 7 minutes.
- Perform a natural release of pressure by letting the pressure escape and not by opening the valve. After the silver pin has dropped and all the remaining pressure has released, open the lid carefully.
- Using tongs, remove the chicken and transfer it to a cutting board. Cut the chicken into cubes.
- Add chicken back to the Instant Pot with the barley, parsley, and carrots.
- Turn saute mode back on and bring it all to a boil so the barley cooks. Place the lid back on and close the valve to lock in the heat and allow the soup to cook for 15 minutes with the lid on.
- Add in the (optional) slurry. Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water. Mix together and pour into the soup. Give your Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup one more good mix and serve.
See recipe post for additional tips and variations.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 308Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 1686mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 38g
Nutritional values are estimates and not exact.